How should we discern the difference between vision given by God and self produced vision, the difference between what springs up (Naba) and what we cook up (Zyid)? Perhaps one key is to recognize that vision from God will always be according to His wisdom not ours. In effect, that means that due to the fact that His thoughts and plans are above and beyond our own true heavenly vision will usually be more than we can think, or imagine.
Two of my favorite Bible verses/passages are 1 Corinthians 2.9 and Ephesians 3.20-21. Essentially they are sister verses which speak of the fact that the kind intentions of God are far greater than we can perceive on our own. They read “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him” and “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen” respectively. I refer to them and the ‘more’ promises. I find them not only encouraging, but highly instructive as well. They teach us that we should be asking and seeking God not merely for more of what we’ve already seen and can understand but for the fullness of what God desires to do in every situation as we seek first His Kingdom.
I would go so far as to say that if our vision is limited to merely more of what we already have seen God do then we really need God to ‘be the lifter of our eyes’. We need His help to behold what He, in His amazing wisdom, power, and benevolence, desires to do to us and through us! In the same vein if our vision for the future consists of merely what we can understand then, just possibly, we might be lacking in true Holy Spirit given perspective of God’s rich plans.
Asking God for a unique gift this Christmas
It’s Christmas time. It’s that time of year when we think of giving and even receiving gifts. While it’s always better to give that it is to receive it’s not a bad thing to receive good gift. After all our Father of lights gives every good and perfect gift!
So here is my end of year challenge! What if each of us prayerfully (and humbly) asked our heavenly Father to give us fresh vision specifically for 2017? I’m not speaking about a 5 year church growth vision or a vision of ‘where do you want to be in 10 years from now’ but a vision for God to accomplish to you and through you over the next 12 months. By ‘through you’ I mean a vision that not only blesses you but causes you to be a blessing to many others. What if we took time out every day over the rest of the month and specifically asked God to give a fresh sense of direction to accomplish certain things for God that are quite beyond what I can imagine in my own thinking. In other words let’s pray for 2017 out of the promises of 1 Corinthians 2.9 and Ephesians 3.20-21. Let’s go before God and with humility tell Him were taking Him at His word and ask that 2017 would be a year of miraculous break through.
Seeing the woods beyond the trees
Sometimes we are so focused on the machinery of what we’re already doing for God and the breakthroughs we have already experienced what without realizing it our hopes and prayers are merely for more of that which we know. In one sense that’s not always wrong. But in another sense it is praying below the absolute level of creativity, wisdom, and power of God, that His promises suggest He wants to release into our lives. Not simply in the sweet-by-and-by but in the dirty-now-and-now!
Remember when Jesus spoke to Martha about resurrection power in John 11? Martha assumed Jesus was strictly speaking about the journey to heaven. She failed to understand He was actually giving her a ‘now’ word! Let’s not fail to hear the now words God has for us concerning this time and place simply because they may be beyond any of our past experiences. We dare not allow our past experiences to dominate our vision for the future!
What I’m not speaking about is a spiritual bucket list. I’m not suggesting we think up things we would like God to do in 2017. I’m speaking of going before Him and asking Him to lead and guide us into the 1 Corinthians 2.9 and Ephesians 3.20-21 ‘more’ that He promises us. After all, as Paul put it, the promises of God are ‘yes, and Amen’ because of Christ and the cross. I believe that if we will do this many of us in a year’s time will look back be amazed but also filled with a deep sense of gratitude to God for what He has done.
To God be the glory, who can do far more than we think, or ask!